Beijing Extraordinary Military Four Seas Manoeuvres
Communist China began five military exercises simultaneously along different parts of its coast on Monday, the second time in two months it will have such concurrent drills against a backdrop of rising regional tension.
Two of the exercises are being held near the Paracel Islands in the disputed South China Sea, one in the East China Sea, and one in further north in the Bohai Sea, the Maritime Safety Administration said in notices on its website.
In the southern part of the Yellow Sea, drills including live-fire exercises will be held from Monday to Wednesday, it said in another notice.
All ships are prohibited from entering the area, it said.
In a bid to train a combat-ready military force, China holds military drills periodically, but rarely do multiple exercises happen at the same time.
After Hong Kong Taiwan Next?
White House National Security Advisor Robert O'Brian told journalists that "US is afraid that after the annexation of Hong Kong Beijing will invade Taiwan".
American officials say China in recent months increased its aggressiveness toward Taiwan with large-scale military exercises and jet and bomber incursions. In the disputed South China Sea, China’s military recently fired a salvo of four missiles, including intermediate-range missiles, into the strategic waterway. Beijing says the South China Sea is part of its sovereign maritime territory.
Last month, China announced four separate exercises, from the Bohai Sea to the East and Yellow Seas and down to the disputed South China Sea, in what Chinese military experts said was a rare arrangement of drills.
The United States sent spy planes into a no-fly zone over Chinese live- fire military drills last month. In response, China lodged "stern representations" with the US.
China and the US have recently been at loggerheads over a range of issues from Taiwan to the Wuhan virus pandemic to trade and human rights.
NATO-like structure Against China
The strongest US Allies in the region are currently contemplating on establishment of "Asian NATO" to contain communist Beijing’s expansionist ambitions.
The Alliance's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said China is “fundamentally shifting the global balance of power” in ways should motivate NATO itself to “become more global.”
Deputy Secretary of State Stephen E. Biegun recently suggested that the informal defense alignment between the U.S., Japan, Australia and India already known as the Quad could be the beginning of a NATO-style alliance in Asia.
“It’s something that I think in the second term of the Trump administration or, were the president not to win, the first term of the next president, it could be something that would be very much worthwhile to be explored,” Mr. Biegun said at a U.S.-India strategic dialogue on Aug. 31, quoted by Washington Times.
The security strategy specialists have conflicted opinions.
I see the Trump brand of ‘America First’ as toxic to advancing serious cooperation, said Patrick Cronin, the Asia-Pacific security chair at the Hudson Institute in Washington, who says a more modest approach might be best.
But Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia program at the US think-tank Wilson Center stated that such alliance can be built if US steps up with a good infrastructure investment strategy for small countries in South Asia since for that purpose they need Beijing deep pocket.
Southeast Asian countries are in a tough spot right now because, despite their fears of Chinese dominance, they still want to be able to look to Beijing for economic support, particularly with regard to infrastructure, while at the same time depending on the security umbrella of the United States, Mr. Kugelman said.
All of experts agreed that the time is running out because Chinese are extending and upgrading their military arsenal with double or even triple speed compared to the last five years having one goal to replace the United States in South Asia.